|Publication number||US8210974 B2|
|Application number||US 11/663,616|
|Publication date||Jul 3, 2012|
|Filing date||Sep 27, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 29, 2004|
|Also published as||CN100497078C, CN101031469A, DE602004008288D1, DE602004008288T2, EP1642820A1, EP1642820B1, US20090305831, WO2006035215A1|
|Publication number||11663616, 663616, PCT/2005/3710, PCT/GB/2005/003710, PCT/GB/2005/03710, PCT/GB/5/003710, PCT/GB/5/03710, PCT/GB2005/003710, PCT/GB2005/03710, PCT/GB2005003710, PCT/GB200503710, PCT/GB5/003710, PCT/GB5/03710, PCT/GB5003710, PCT/GB503710, US 8210974 B2, US 8210974B2, US-B2-8210974, US8210974 B2, US8210974B2|
|Original Assignee||Nexxtdrive Limited|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (52), Referenced by (7), Classifications (13), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority to International Application No. PCT/GB2005/003710 filed Sep. 27, 2005, which claims priority to European Patent No. 04256002.9 filed Sep. 29, 2004, the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to hubs, particularly though not exclusively hubs for or incorporated in vehicle wheels, particularly bicycle wheels or motorcycle wheels but also wheels for vehicles with three or more wheels, and is concerned with that type of hub which incorporates a variable ratio transmission system.
Bicycle wheels are known with a hub which incorporates a variable ratio transmission system but this transmission system can only provide a relatively small number of discrete gear ratios. It would be desirable to provide a bicycle wheel with a hub incorporating a transmission system of continuously variable ratio.
There is an ever increasing social and legislative pressure on the manufacturers of motor vehicles to provide engines with a reduced fuel consumption and thus reduced emission of pollutants. One way of achieving these aims is to ensure that the transmission system of the vehicle always uses the optimum gear ratio and this can only be achieved by providing that the transmission system is of continuously or steplessly variable type and thus has an infinite number of gear ratios. One of the results of the pressure referred to above to reduce the fuel consumption and thus the emission of pollutants from engines is that vehicles of so called hybrid type are rapidly increasing in popularity. There is therefore also a need for a transmission system which can simply combine both a mechanical power input and an electrical power input into a single mechanical power output.
It is the object of the present invention to provide a hub incorporating a variable ratio transmission system which fulfils all of the above requirements.
According to the present invention, a hub comprises a substantially cylindrical, hollow hub member, which is mounted to rotate about its axis and accommodated in whose interior is a transmission system having an input, which is mounted to rotate about the axis, and an output connected to rotate with the hub member, the transmission system comprising first and second epicyclic gearsets, the first gearset comprising a first sun gear which is mounted to rotate about the axis and is in mesh with a plurality of first planet gears mounted to rotate about respective planet shafts carried by a first common carrier, which is mounted to rotate about the axis, the first planet gears being in mesh with a further gear element, the second gearset comprising a second sun gear, which is mounted to rotate about the axis and is in mesh with a plurality of second planet gears mounted to rotate about respective planets shafts carried by a second common carrier, the second planet gears being in mesh with a second annulus gear, the first planet gears or the first common carrier being connected to rotate in synchronism with the second planet gears or the second carrier, the first and second sun gears being connected to the rotors of first and second reversible machines, respectively, arranged to produce power or to act as motors, the power connections of the two stators being connected via a controller arranged to control the transmission of power from one machine to the other.
The transmission system incorporated in the hub in accordance with the present invention thus includes a cylindrical, hub member, which is mounted, in the usual manner, to rotate about its axis. Within its interior is a transmission system having a coaxial input and an output connected to the hub member, whereby rotation of the input results in rotation of the hub member. If the hub is a vehicle wheel hub, the hub member will be connected to the remainder of the wheel and the input will be connected to a sprocket wheel, pulley wheel or the like, which is mounted to rotate about the axis of the hub member and around which a chain, belt or the like passes to transmit input power to the hub. The hub could, however, also be part of, for instance, a winch or winding drum and in this event the hub member may simply carry side flanges to define the space on to which the rope, cable or the like is to be wound. The transmission system includes two epicyclic gearsets, each of which includes a sun gear, which is mounted to rotate about the axis, and a plurality of planet gears which are in mesh with the sun gear and are mounted to rotate about respective planet shafts carried by an associated common carrier. The two sets of planet gears are in mesh with a further gear element, which will be an annulus gear or a further sun gear. Either the planet gears or the common carrier of the first gearset are connected to rotate in synchronism with the planet gears or the common carrier of the second gearset. This connection may take many forms and if the two common carriers are connected together they will of course rotate at the same speed. If, however, the planet gears of the first gearset are in mesh with a further gear which is in turn either in mesh with the planet gears of the second gearset or is connected to rotate with the carrier of the second gearset, the two connected elements may rotate at the same speed or at a different speed but even if they rotate at a different speed they will still rotate in synchronism because the speeds of the two connected elements will necessarily be in a fixed ratio to one another. The two sun gears are connected to the rotors of first and second reversible machines, respectively, which are arranged to produce power or to act as motors. The power connections of the two stators are connected via a controller which is arranged to control the transmission of power from one machine to the other.
If the hub is for, or constitutes part of, a large piece of apparatus, such as winding drum or winch, the first and second reversible machines, may be hydraulic pumps/motors, one of which will generally act as a pump and will provide power in the form of pressurised hydraulic fluid to the other machine, which will act as a motor. If, however, the hub is for, or constitutes part of, a vehicle wheel, there is unlikely to be sufficient space for two reversible hydraulic machines and in this event it is preferred that the two machines constitute electric motor/generators. In use, one of the motor/generators generally acts as a generator and transmits electrical power to the other motor/generator, which acts as motor. The amount of electrical power so transmitted may be selectively varied by means of the controller thereby altering the transmission ratio of the transmission system. Power is transmitted through the transmission system both mechanically and electrically, in proportions which vary with the varying transmission ratio. The output speed of the transmission system, and thus the speed of the hub member, may thus be varied independently of the input speed, which means that the speed of the wheel or the like connected to the hub member in accordance with the invention may be varied independently of the speed of the engine or the pedals to which it is connected, which means in turn that it may be operated precisely at the speed which is the most appropriate for the driving conditions of the vehicle.
The input of the transmission system may be connected to rotate with the first common carrier but in an alternative embodiment the further gear element in the first epicyclic gearset is a third sun gear, which is mounted to rotate about the axis and is connected to rotate with the input. Alternatively, the further gear element maybe a first annulus gear connected to rotate with the hub member. The first annulus gear may be a separate component, which is connected to the hub member, but it is preferred that it constitutes an integral part of the hub member, e.g. a flange integral with the inner surface of the hub member, the inner circular surface of which the flange carries gear teeth.
The second common carrier may be connected to rotate with the hub member or alternatively the second annulus gear may be connected to rotate with the hub member.
In a further embodiment, the first and second common carriers are connected to rotate together. In a further embodiment, the second annulus gear is stationary.
The planet gears may constitute conventional, simple gears affording a single set of gear teeth which is in mesh with the associated sun gear and the associated annulus gear or third sun gear. It is, however, preferred that the gears of at least one and preferably both of the pluralities of planet gears are so called stepped gears consisting of two connected, preferably integrally connected, portions of different diameter, both of which carry gear teeth and one of which is in mesh with the associated sun gear and the other of which is in mesh with the associated annulus gear or third sun gear. Relatively high ratios of the two epicyclic gearsets are required if the hub is for use in the wheel of a bicycle or motorcycle and this feature results in a reduction in the required torque, and thus in the size of the two reversible machines and the diameter of the two gearsets. The overall diameter of the hub is thus reduced.
The hub may form part of the rear wheel of an electric bicycle or an electrically assisted bicycle or part of any wheel of an electrically powered or assisted vehicle, e.g. a hybrid vehicle, and in this event the controller will also be connected, in use, to an electric battery and will be arranged to control the flow of electric power between the two motor/generators and the battery. The electric motor/generators thus not only are the means by which the transmission ratio of the transmission system may be continuously varied but also the means by which electrical power from the battery may be converted into mechanical power and transmitted to the wheel. The motor/generators can also serve a dual function when the hub is for a wheel of a motor vehicle, such as a motorcycle, because one or both of the motor/generators may additionally fulfil the function not only of the conventional alternator, which is used to produce electric power to recharge the battery, but also the function of the conventional starter motor. A vehicle including a wheel with a hub in accordance with the present invention need therefore not be provided with the usual alternator and starter motor. The hub in accordance with the invention can also be incorporated in two wheels or even four wheels of a motor car and this will provide the possibility of controlling the speed of two or even all four wheels of a motor car independently, which will therefore permit the conventional differential to be omitted as well.
Further features and details of the invention will be apparent from the following description of four specific embodiments, which is given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which
Referring firstly to
Accommodated within the interior of the hub member 2 is a transmission system including a first epicyclic gearset 14 and a second epicyclic gearset 16. The first epicyclic gearset 14 includes a first sun gear 18, which is mounted on bearings 19 to rotate about the axle 4 and is in mesh with a number of planet gears 20. The planet gears 20 are mounted to rotate about respective planet shafts 22, which are connected to a first common carrier 24. The carrier 24 is connected to rotate with the input shaft 10. The first planet gears 20 are of stepped type and include a portion of relatively large diameter, which carries gear teeth in mesh with the sun gear 18, and a portion of relatively small diameter, which carries gear teeth, which are in mesh with a first annulus gear 26. The annulus gear 26 is constituted by teeth on the annular inner surface of an internal flange integral with the hub member 2.
The second epicyclic gearset 16 includes a second sun gear 28, which is mounted to rotate on bearings 29 about the axle 4. It is in mesh with a number of second planet gears 30, which are mounted to rotate about respective planet shafts 32, which are in turn connected to a second common carrier 34. In this case, the carrier 34 constitutes a further internal flange integral with the hub member 2 and it therefore necessarily rotates with the hub 2. The second planet gears 30 are again of stepped type and it is the portion of larger diameter which is in mesh with the second sun gear 28. The portion of smaller diameter is in mesh with a second annulus gear 36, which is stationary. The first planet gears 20 rotate in synchronism with the second carrier 34, but at a different speed.
The first and second sun gears 18, 28 are connected to the rotors 38, 40, respectively, of first and second electric motor/generators. The stator 42 of the first motor/generator is carried by a stationary bracket 44. The stator 46 of the second motor/generator is connected to the stationary second annulus gear 36. The electrical connections of the two stators 42, 46 are shown schematically at 48 and are connected to a controller 50, which is also connected to an electric battery 52.
In use, the sprocket 8 is rotated by the chain which passes around it and this rotation is transmitted by the input shaft 10 to the carrier 24 of the first gearset. One of the two motor/generators generally acts as a generator and transmits electrical power to the other motor/generator, which then acts as a motor. The amount of electrical power which is transmitted between the two motor/generators is determined by the controller 50, typically in response to the engine management system of the vehicle to which the hub is fitted, and this determines the speed at which that motor/generator which is operating as a motor rotates and thus the transmission ratio of the transmission system. The speed of the output and thus of the hub member 2 may thus be varied independently of the input speed. In practice, most of the power transmitted by the transmission system is transmitted in a form of mechanical power rather than electrical power and power losses are therefore relatively small.
If the hub is fitted to an electrically assisted bicycle, the input power applied to the sprocket 8 will be applied by the user to the pedals of the bicycle. The controller may, however, be actuated to additionally supply electrical power from the battery 52 to one or other of the motor/generators to augment the power supplied by the user and thus assist the cyclist to, for instance, ride more easily up a hill. If, on the other hand, the hub forms part of a motorcycle, the battery may be used to provide additional power if the motorcycle is of hybrid type but if it is of conventional type the battery will generally be used only for its traditional purposes, that is to say starting, lighting and ignition. The motor/generators may, however, replace the conventional starter motor and the battery may be used to start the vehicle engine, when required and may be recharged via the controller at those times when electrical power is generated surplus to requirements. The transmission system can also operate very effectively as a brake and the action of braking will generate electricity which can be used to recharge the battery. The use of such regenerative breaking will increase the overall fuel efficiency of the motorcycle. Indeed, the controller can be operated to virtually lock the hub and the hub can therefore replace the brakes which are conventionally provided on motor vehicles.
The embodiment of
The embodiment of
The embodiment shown in
In the embodiments of
More specifically, the sprocket wheel 8 is connected to a solid input shaft 10, which is mounted for rotation within the hollow axle 4. The input shaft 10 is connected to the carrier 24 of the first epicyclic gearset. The construction and layout of the two gearsets are substantially the same as those of the embodiment of
The embodiment of
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3812928 *||May 12, 1972||May 28, 1974||Allis Chalmers||Electric powered wheel|
|US3892300 *||Aug 22, 1973||Jul 1, 1975||Gen Electric||Motorized wheel brake system|
|US3897843 *||Nov 29, 1973||Aug 5, 1975||Gen Electric||Electric motorized wheel|
|US4274023 *||May 10, 1979||Jun 16, 1981||Lamprey Donald F||Compact variable speed drive for electric motor|
|US4346777 *||Mar 12, 1979||Aug 31, 1982||Societa Italiana Catene Calibrate Regina S.P.A.||Motor unit for bicycles|
|US4930590 *||May 11, 1989||Jun 5, 1990||Deere & Company||Motor and transmission assembly|
|US5087229 *||May 6, 1991||Feb 11, 1992||General Motors Corporation||Independently suspended steerable motor wheel apparatus|
|US5293089 *||Nov 14, 1990||Mar 8, 1994||Robert Bosch Gmbh||Liquid-cooled electric generator|
|US5382854 *||Jul 22, 1993||Jan 17, 1995||Kabushikikaisha Equos Research||Electrical motor drive apparatus with planetary gearing|
|US5472059 *||Feb 15, 1994||Dec 5, 1995||Dana Corporation||Wheel end assembly|
|US5633544 *||Sep 1, 1994||May 27, 1997||Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Wheel motor|
|US5691584 *||Sep 1, 1994||Nov 25, 1997||Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Wheel motor for vehicles|
|US5763980 *||Dec 17, 1996||Jun 9, 1998||Li; Tsan Kuang||Bicycle driving motor structure|
|US5793132 *||Jun 14, 1996||Aug 11, 1998||Honda Giken Kogyo K.K.||Electric wheel motor|
|US5941333 *||Jan 7, 1998||Aug 24, 1999||Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd.||Bicycle with a planetary-gear-train type transmission and an auxilliary electrical transmission|
|US6007447 *||Oct 20, 1998||Dec 28, 1999||Lin; Shou-Mei||Transmission unit for the disk motor of an electromotive bicycle|
|US6012538 *||Sep 25, 1997||Jan 11, 2000||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.||Driving unit for an electric motor driven bicycle|
|US6100615 *||May 11, 1998||Aug 8, 2000||Birkestrand; Orville J.||Modular motorized electric wheel hub assembly for bicycles and the like|
|US6276475 *||Aug 10, 1999||Aug 21, 2001||Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha||Wheel hub electric motor and transmission drive unit|
|US6296072 *||Jan 20, 1999||Oct 2, 2001||Opti-Bike Llc||Electric bicycle and methods|
|US6328123 *||Jul 29, 1998||Dec 11, 2001||Daimlerchrysler Ag||Electrical drive for a wheel hub|
|US6355996 *||May 22, 2000||Mar 12, 2002||Rabbit Tool U.S.A., Inc.||Modular motorized electric wheel hub assembly for bicycles and the like|
|US6386553 *||Jun 29, 2001||May 14, 2002||Volvo Personvagnar Ab||Vehicle wheel suspension arrangement|
|US6722459 *||Jul 7, 2000||Apr 20, 2004||Zf Friedrichshafen Ag||Axle having a bridge arranged underneath the wheel axle|
|US6749532 *||Jan 26, 2001||Jun 15, 2004||Oskar Wachauer||Electric drive for a vehicle|
|US6752227 *||Sep 16, 2000||Jun 22, 2004||Zf Friedrichshafen Ag||Final drive for driving a vehicle wheel|
|US6893371 *||May 7, 2003||May 17, 2005||Luk Lamellen Und Kupplungsbau Beteiligungs Kg||Transmission actuator driven by an electric motor|
|US6974399 *||Feb 11, 2004||Dec 13, 2005||Chiu-Hsiang Lo||Hub motor mechanism|
|US7186197 *||May 28, 2003||Mar 6, 2007||Messier-Bugatti||Actuator with two motors, a differential reducer and a torque limiter|
|US7214155 *||Jan 28, 2005||May 8, 2007||Magnet-Motor Gesellschaft Fuer Magnetmotorische Technik Mbh||Electric drive unit for motor vehicles|
|US7315099 *||Jan 28, 2005||Jan 1, 2008||Magnet-Motor Gesellschaft Fuer Mangnetmotorische Technik Mbh||Cooled electric drive unit for a motor vehicle|
|US7350606 *||Feb 15, 2005||Apr 1, 2008||Arvinmeritor Technology, Llc||Double reduction electric drive wheel assembly|
|US7357743 *||Jun 17, 2005||Apr 15, 2008||Fengxiang Mao||Hub motor|
|US7410017 *||Nov 30, 2004||Aug 12, 2008||The Timken Company||Electric drive axle|
|US7452297 *||Aug 7, 2007||Nov 18, 2008||Fallbrook Technologies Inc.||Continuously variable planetary gear set|
|US7455611 *||Aug 7, 2007||Nov 25, 2008||Fallbrook Technologies Inc.||Continuously variable planetary gear set|
|US7462123 *||Aug 7, 2007||Dec 9, 2008||Fallbrook Technologies Inc.||Continuously variable planetary gear set|
|US7527113 *||Jun 18, 2003||May 5, 2009||Magnetic Systems Technology Limited||Hub drive system|
|US7686726 *||Aug 10, 2005||Mar 30, 2010||Qinetiq Limited||Electric drive transmission|
|US7717203 *||Aug 29, 2007||May 18, 2010||Honda Motor Co., Ltd.||Wheel rotating apparatus and in-wheel motor vehicle|
|US7749121 *||Jun 18, 2007||Jul 6, 2010||Te-Yu Perng||Transmission structure for an electrically operated bicycle|
|US7766779 *||Apr 27, 2006||Aug 3, 2010||Peugeot Citroen Automobiles Sa||Switching device for a motor vehicle and use of this device|
|US7828095 *||Aug 10, 2007||Nov 9, 2010||Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha||In-wheel motor and wheel assembly with this in-wheel motor|
|US7866423 *||Aug 24, 2005||Jan 11, 2011||Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, Llc||Low floor drive unit assembly for an electrically driven vehicle|
|US8100208 *||Jan 5, 2009||Jan 24, 2012||Sram, Llc||Drive system for driving a vehicle wheel|
|US20030015360||Jul 17, 2002||Jan 23, 2003||Villeneuve Arnaud Michel||Electric wheel motor assembly|
|EP0980821A2||Aug 18, 1999||Feb 23, 2000||Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki Kaisha||Motor drive unit for electric motor-operated vehicle|
|GB2398108A||Title not available|
|JP2000211574A||Title not available|
|JP2002274201A||Title not available|
|JPS56120826A||Title not available|
|WO2004072449A1||Feb 13, 2004||Aug 26, 2004||Drivetec (Uk) Limited||Automotive air blowers|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8550197 *||Nov 1, 2007||Oct 8, 2013||Oto Melara S.P.A. Con Unico Socio||Power-driven wheel for a military vehicle|
|US8723379 *||Oct 28, 2011||May 13, 2014||Ho-Yo LIAO||Geared generator for an electric vehicle|
|US20100326748 *||Nov 1, 2007||Dec 30, 2010||Oto Melara S.P.A. Con Unico Socio||Power-driven wheel for a military vehicle|
|US20120149517 *||Jun 30, 2011||Jun 14, 2012||Hyundai Motor Company||Hub motor unit for electric bicycle|
|US20130106115 *||Oct 28, 2011||May 2, 2013||Ho-Yo LIAO||Gearing generator for an electric vehicle|
|US20150292601 *||Oct 13, 2014||Oct 15, 2015||Delbert Tesar||Standardized gear train modules for multi-speed hub drive wheels|
|US20160144709 *||Jun 12, 2014||May 26, 2016||Tente Gmbh & Co. Kg||Roller having a driven wheel, load truck comprising a roller having a driven wheel and operating device|
|U.S. Classification||475/5, 180/65.51, 475/149|
|International Classification||B60L11/14, B62M6/65|
|Cooperative Classification||H02K51/00, B62M6/65, B66D1/22, B62M11/16|
|European Classification||B62M11/16, B66D1/22, H02K51/00, B62M6/65|
|Apr 10, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NEXXTDRIVE LIMITED, UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MOELLER, FRANK;REEL/FRAME:022531/0050
Effective date: 20070409
|Dec 11, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4